“January 28–February 3. Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3: ‘Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“January 28–February 3. Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Jesus Christ and His gospel can change you. Luke quoted an ancient prophecy of Isaiah that described John the Baptist’s mission and the effect that the Savior’s coming would have: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5; see also Isaiah 40:4). This is a message for all of us, including those who think they cannot change or do not need to change. If something as permanent as a mountain can be flattened, then surely the Lord can help us straighten our own crooked paths (see Luke 3:4–5). As we accept John the Baptist’s invitation to repent and change, we prepare our minds and hearts to receive Jesus Christ so that we too can “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).
Among the authors of the Gospels, we know the least about Mark. We know that he was a missionary companion of Paul, Peter, and several other missionaries. Many biblical scholars believe that Peter directed Mark to record the events of the Savior’s life. Mark’s Gospel was likely written before the other three.
See also Bible Dictionary, “Mark.”
The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the hearts of the people to receive the Savior and become more like Him. How did he do it? He proclaimed, “Repent ye” (Matthew 3:2). He used images such as fruit and wheat to emphasize the importance of repenting in order to receive Christ (see Luke 3:9, 17).
What other images do you find in the accounts of John the Baptist’s ministry? Consider marking them in your scriptures or drawing pictures of them in a study journal. What do these images teach about the doctrine and necessity of repentance?
True repentance is “a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. … [It means] a turning of the heart and will to God” (Bible Dictionary, “Repentance”). In Luke 3:7–14, what changes did John invite the people to make to prepare to receive Christ? How might this counsel apply to you? How can you show that you have truly repented? (see Luke 3:8).
See also Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 3:4–11 (in the Bible appendix); Bible Dictionary, “John the Baptist”; D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 38–41.
The Pharisees were members of a Jewish religious party who prided themselves on strict observance of Mosaic law. They tended to reduce religion to the observance of many ceremonial behaviors. The Sadducees were a wealthy Jewish class with significant religious and political influence. They did not believe in the doctrine of resurrection. Both groups had strayed from the original intent of God’s laws, and many of their members refused to accept the message of God’s prophet, John the Baptist.
When you were baptized, you followed the example of the Savior. Compare what you learn from these accounts of the Savior’s baptism with what happened during your baptism.
Who baptized Jesus, and what authority did he hold?
Who baptized you, and what authority did he hold?
Where was Jesus baptized?
Where were you baptized?
How was Jesus baptized?
How were you baptized?
Why was Jesus baptized?
Why were you baptized?
How did Heavenly Father show that He was pleased with Jesus?
How did Heavenly Father show that He was pleased when you were baptized? How has He shown His approval since then?
Nephi recorded some important teachings about the Savior’s baptism. What do his words in 2 Nephi 31 teach you? Consider recording your baptism experience in a journal.
The Bible contains numerous evidences that the members of the Godhead are three separate beings. For instance, the account of the Savior’s baptism supports the doctrine that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings. God the Father spoke from heaven, and the Holy Ghost (represented by a dove) descended on the Savior as He was being baptized. Here are some other scriptures that teach this same truth: Genesis 1:26–27; Matthew 17:1–5; John 17:20–23; Acts 7:55–56; and Doctrine and Covenants 130:22.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
John the Baptist held the Aaronic Priesthood. What can we learn about the Aaronic Priesthood as we study about him? How can John’s example help Aaronic Priesthood holders fulfill their duties? (See also D&C 13:1; 20:46–60.)
To teach family members about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, consider displaying a dirty object and letting family members wash it with water. How does this activity represent baptism? Then ask family members to talk about some of the cleansing characteristics of fire. Why is the gift of the Holy Ghost described as a “baptism of fire”? (See Bible Dictionary, “Holy Ghost.”)
When have we felt that God has been pleased with us? What can we do as a family to please God?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.